France Agrees To Kick File Sharers Off The Internet Again; Lobbyists Call It 'Consumer Relief'
from the up-is-down,-black-is-white,-you-said-what-now? dept
There isn’t a huge surprise in the news that France has once again passed a law to force ISPs to kick accused (not convicted) file sharers off the internet under a draconian “three strikes” system. We all knew this was coming. After the original French three strikes law was gutted as being totally unconstitutional, French President Nicolas Sarkozy (who apparently doesn’t believe any such law should apply to him, given his history of mass piracy) insisted that such a law was necessary to defend freedom. Yes, really. And, even as France’s cultural minister was planning to get multiple internet connections just in case he got cut off — while also wishing that his own creative content were “pirated” more often, the French gov’t went back to work on putting in place such a law. The big “change” this time was to give judges 5 whole minutes to rule on file sharers, so that they could say a judge oversaw the case, rather than it just being a random accusation. I’m not sure how due process works with a 5 minute limit… but what can you do.
What’s much more entertaining is seeing how entertainment industry lobbyists are cheering this on. I’m beginning to think that they actually believe that kicking people off the internet will make people buy more of their content. Incredible. First up, the MPAA’s Dan Glickman (who’s being pushed out of his job for being woefully ineffective):
“Today’s decision is an enormous victory for creators everywhere. It is our hope that ISPs will fully honor their promise to cooperate and that the French government will take the necessary measures to dedicate resources to handle the enormous task ahead.”
A victory for creators? Really? By kicking fans off the internet for promoting their works? Yikes. Someone’s out of touch. Then we have Rick Cotton, of NBC Universal, the man who insisted that movie piracy was really harming the poor American corn farmer since people ate less popcorn with pirated movies:
“The French action recognizes that jobs and economic growth in creative industries are under assault by digital theft. We need a safe and secure Internet that enables consumers to access content easily but does not facilitate illegal file sharing that kills jobs in creative sectors.”
Yes, and the corn farmers, too, right? So, if it’s really all about jobs, what about the people kicked offline who rely on the internet for their job? Apparently those jobs don’t matter? In the meantime, it’s already pretty clear from multiple studies that it’s not file sharing that’s “killing jobs in creative sectors” but the inability of executives like Cotton to understand basic economics and business models.
But, honestly, the most guffaw-inducing response to this comes from Tom Sydnor at the Progress & Freedom Foundation. Sydnor, who as you may know, has a long history of making claims that don’t pass the laugh test, has really outdone himself this time (it’s even better than when he accused a college that couldn’t identify accused file sharers of harboring “terrorists, pedophiles, phishing-scheme operators, hackers [and] identity thieves” by giving them a “get out of jail free” card). So what’s his take on kicking people off the internet based on accusations? Well, it’s really about consumer relief. No, seriously:
“As a consumer, I would far prefer the successive warnings that French law would now provide to the sudden financial devastation of the John-Doe lawsuit that American law would now require. I thus urge American internet-service providers and copyright owners to work together to provide American consumers with similar relief.”
Ah, yes, because the only options are to sue everyone or to kick people off the internet? Apparently Tom has such incredibly little faith in the innovation ability of content providers that he assumes that they cannot craft unique and innovative business models that don’t involve suing everyone or kicking people off the internet. How insulting of him towards content creators. Every time Sydnor makes a statement like this and PFF promotes it, it just weakens the work that PFF does in other areas. It’s tough to take an organization seriously that has someone claiming that kicking people off the internet based on accusations of private companies is “consumer relief.”